Squat vs. Leg Press Machine by David Renouf
The incline leg press machine (in most instances) is superior to free weight squatting when it comes to building huge legs.
Now I know that is going to stir up a lot of the SQUATING enthusiasts but being in the muscle building industry for over 50 years I have not only see a lot but also done and experienced it for myself.
When using an incline leg press machine it allows you to focus entirely on pushing the weight up. When squatting you also need to focus on keeping balance and controlling the barbell on your shoulders so it does not slip off your back. Getting your mind into the muscle is very important and far easier to achieve when using a leg press machine. Also with the leg press machine the resistance is closer to the muscles (Quadriceps) you are attempting to target, rather than with the Squat where you are putting the resistance (weight) on your shoulders, which is a long way from the targeted muscles. To build really big muscle you must isolate it and then hit it hard. With the Squatting movement it is impossible to isolate the quads (that’s why it is called a compound movement) as the resistance/weight has to travel from the top of your shoulders all the way down the back to your quads.
Squats are great when you first start out training, to build over-all body strength and size. As you progress and if your aim is to build the biggest legs you possibly can then the leg press machine is your best choice. Its no coincidence that the size of body builder’s legs increased incredibly around the same time that the incline leg press machines became popular. Up until then (early 80s) performing squats with a barbell loaded up with as many weight plates as you could handle was the big movement for leg training and apart from a few genetic freaks like Tom Platz most body builder’s leg development was below par when compared to their upper bodies. Arnold Schwarzenegger the seven times Mr Olympia champion would not even qualify in todays line ups because of his then under par legs, which were mainly developed with squats.
Now after saying all that, there is no golden rule set in concrete when it comes to what is best for the individual. Every one is different in skeletal structure proportion; ligament/tendon strength, metabolisms, and the ability to develop muscle. So there are no definite right ways, only ways that have more often than not proven successful. By keeping an open mind you will find the one that works for you.
Train hard, eat big and sleep well,